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Crown prosecutor considering whether to proceed with $2.6 million fraud case

Sylvan Lake man accused of fraud in poor health

Crown prosecutors are weighing whether it is in the public interest to continue pursuing the case against a Sylvan Lake man accused of defrauding investors out of $2.6 million.

Dane Michael Skinner, 56, is facing charges of fraud over $5,000 and laundering the proceeds of crime in connection with an alleged scheme to sell a product that made fracking operations at oil wells cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

RCMP also alleged investors were wrongly led to believe the technology was about to be sold to another company, leading to a financial windfall.

Blackfalds RCMP allege at least 16 people sank money into the scheme between December 2007 and February 2013 and backers lost more than $2.6 million. Skinner was arrested and charged in July 2018.

A trial expected to last more than three weeks had been set to run in September, however, prosecutors with the province’s special prosecutions office in Calgary requested an adjournment so that medical reports on Skinner could be reviewed.

Skinner has been treated for cancer and indicated in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench on Monday that he could not speak or hear. He followed proceedings through closed captions on a laptop and wrote down answers to questions.

Crown prosecutor Steven Johnston told Justice Gillian Marriott on Monday that he asked for the earlier adjournment so that he could review medical reports to determine whether to proceed with the prosecution. He has not yet been able to get the necessary medical information “which is an impediment to that process,” he said.

Skinner, who does not have a lawyer and is representing himself, provided the judge a letter that showed he was to undergo an examination at a cancer centre on Dec. 22.

The judge ordered that the case come back to court on Jan. 10 so an update could be provided on whether it will go ahead and a new trial is to be set.

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